About a year ago I felt pressured into buying a PDA. All my friends had them, even the ones who regularly call me up to ask me how to send email attachments. My colleagues at work, had them on their desks and would hot sync them with their computers at work and home and tell me how useful it was. At meetings, I would pull out my notepad to make notes, and every one else would pull out their PDA’s. Well to make a long story short, since I love gadgets, I had to get myself a PDA.
So now that it’s been a year since I had my Dell Axim, I thought it might be a good time to evaluate it , and see how much and for what I use it.
I have all the phone numbers and addresses of friends and family on my PDA, I hot synced it with my PC, but till date I have never looked up an address on my PDA, I haven’t felt the urge at a restaurant or at the grocery store when my computer isn’t handy to look up anyone’s address. As far a phone numbers are concerned, they are all on my cell phone. It seems kind of dumb to look them up on my PDA and then enter the number on the cell phone.
I did try entering notes, things to do, grocery lists on my PDA but I ran into a few snags with this.
1. The PDA hates my handwriting, I spent hours trying to teach it, but p’s become b’s and f’s become t’s and since I don’t seem to dot my 'i’s, they either show up as ‘e’ or ‘l’. On the plus side, its sometimes very interesting to look at what I’ve just written, not what I wanted to write - but then the same can be said about some of the code I write too.
2. The stylus (if you decide not to go the handwriting route) and the PDA keyboard are designed specifically to waste time and strain your eyes.
3. Grocery shopping is not much fun with a PDA in one hand, pushing a cart with the other, while putting my glasses on. After a few attempts, I reverted to making my lists using Outlook Notes and printing them out.
4. I thought I would use it to keep track of business appointments or social engagements. Since I’m always at work when business appointments are made and I find it so much easier to type it into outlook using a PC keyboard rather then the evil stylus, I tend to do that. Of course I hot sync it with my PDA so that incase Outlook forgot to remind me, my PDA would. And yes the social engagements, did I mention I’m a developer – I don’t have a social life.
This is not to say that I find PDA’s totally useless, remember those colleagues I mentioned, the ones who would ceremoniously pull out there PDA’s and pretend to take notes – well I discovered they were actually reading Internet articles they had downloaded – which I have discovered makes meetings a lot more pleasant.
Also if you download a few crucial maps of your area from Mappoint and hook up a GPS to your PDA, well you don’t have to buy a new car with a GPS system.
Since I am cheap however (probably obvious from the observation that a PDA + handheld GPS = new car with GPS), I need to get more for the $300+ I spent for this. I am trying to persuade my boss, that we should be developing software for the PDA. Not only would I get more use out of it, I might find it reason enough to carry it in my purse rather then have it look like a beautiful paperweight on my desk.